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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  December 5, 2011 2:00am-3:00am PST

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it all seemed like such a bad nightmare. >> a young mother went for a run and vanished. later, strangled, dumped in a drainage ditch. >> we had a homicide. we got no suspects. >> who would want her dead? >> i asked him point blank, what have you done? >> her husband did have an affair with her best friend. >> it took place near her home in the closet of the master bedroom. >> a bad marriage. was it murder? finally, on a computer map, one crucial clue. >> it's the most pointed piece
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of premeditation. >> what happened to nancy the day she disappeared? >> thanks for joining us. i'm lester holt. this story involves a young mother who disappeared one morning. her husband said she went for a run and never came home. it was a puzzling case. it happened in a safe suburban neighborhood. the kind of place where crime had is unexpected. even more unexpected, the tiny clue, buried in a computer that unlocked the mystery. here's keith morrison. captions paid for by nbc-universal television nothing about that morning made any sense. >> it seemed like such a bad nightmare. this doesn't happen in our happy little world. >> it was a saturday morning in
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july. the happy little world of sweet and leafy suburb of raleigh, north carolina. a place a young family would aspire to if you were someone like hanna pritchard, for example. >> there's always lots of friend making going on through someone you meet. lots of cookouts and family functions. >> like the one in the neighborhood the night before. so hanna would have heard party stories from her friend nancy cooper. would have. because nancy didn't show up. >> i hadn't heard from her maybe by like 10:00, i called her house. brad answered and he said, she went for a run. >> nancy was an athlete. had been training for a half marathon. brad cooper was nancy's husband. >> okay, when did she leave? and he told me, i don't know. 6:30 or 7:00. he was like, she's not back? >> weird.
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if nancy had to cancel their meeting, surely she would have called. hanna cooled her heels. >> at 1:00, the phone rang. and i saw on the caller i.d. it was her house. hey, where have you been? he said no, hanna, it's brad. nancy is still not back. >> now brad was worried. >> so i really started to panic. >> especially when she learned nancy had also stood up another of their friends. they called the local hospitals. no sign of nancy. they called nancy's twin sister krista up in canada. have you talked to her yet? she went for a run. she hasn't returned and we're very worried about her. can you call us back? >> you know about this kind of stuff. >> you would think. >> krista calls her older brother jeff who is a police officer in edmonton, alberta. >> my first reaction was, okay, she's somewhere. we just need some space or some time. she'll turn up. >> when nancy's parents, gary
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and donna, heard she was missing they were gripped by something dark and cold. >> gary said to me, donna, this story is not going to have a happy ending of. >> by afternoon, the police were involved. >> all i was told on the phone was that it was a missing persons. >> when detective george daniels arrived, nancy's neighborhood was already filling up with the small army of her panicked friends. nancy's family rushed to cary to join in the search. her husband made a public plea for help. >> if anyone knows anything, i want them to could not tack police with any information they may have. and thank you to everyone that continues to come out and help out. >> sir, do you have a flier? >> volunteers chased up and down the running trails where she loved to train. they combed the surrounding parks and lakes and woods. but this woman they had grown to love since she and brad moved down from canada. >> the capacity to make her
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always rather large group of friends feel at home. >> when she walked into a room, that's where people wanted to be. >> she and brad were like a lot of people in cary. having raised their family here and started in another place and time. in their case, calgary, canada. that's where they met back in '98. >> i really liked it. >> as did nancy's younger sister jill. >> this is someone who is warm. genuinely you saw how much he cared for her. >> so brad became a helpful member of the family. even designed the computer systems. >> they would say i want to meet the guy who did this. he was kind of a legend. >> he was so good that cisco systems invited him to move to raleigh and work for the company. smart guy. >> smart guy. yes. mensa or close, i would say. >> if nancy were to go with him
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to america, for immigration reasons they had to be married. so in the fall of 2000 they said their vows, an intimate family affair. >> how did she feel about going to north carolina? >> she was a little apprehensive at first. lots of tears at the airport. fear of the unknown a little bit but i think she was excited. >> and a few years later there were two bmws in the driveway, nancy had a vast circle of friends. and brad, a bright future at cisco where he would become an expert in the marriage of internet technology and telephones. one of just 152 such experts in the whole world. best of all, two little girls, bella, born in 2004, katy, two years later. >> the best mother i've ever seen. she played and played and played. she was so hands-on. >> and now they were putting up missing posters. sunday went by, all day monday. then monday evening someone called 911. >> as the chief of the cary
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police department, it is my very sad duty to tell you that our search for nancy is over. >> it was a man his dog who found her. lying face down in water at the edge of a storm drain near a housing construction site several miles from the coomer home. >> our investigation is now a homicide. >> now they had to say goodbye. it was a measure of the woman that total strangers joined nancy's family and friends to share in the sorrow. >> i continue to thank a community for the generosity and support. it is overwhelming. i am one of the luckiest people in the world. i'm a twin. sorry. i have a bond with nancy that no one in the world has. all i have to do to remember her is to look in the mirror.
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she will always be half of me. nancy, i love you and i always will. >> now of course a homicide investigation was underway. but for detective george daniels, only this could go on. she was strangled. wearing only a sports bra and her diamond stud earrings. no marks on her body to indicate a beating. no struggle, no sign of sexual assault, a rob robbery, it was a puzzle that landed in his lap. >> she wasn't raped or assaulted in any way. the earrings weren't taken. what was the reason for her to be over here? and then what was the reason for them to do this if nothing was done to her? >> police soon discover possible reasons and a reality much grimmer than the smiling facade. me, i said to i me,'t donw kno d't know what i'm going to do. >> what end pp dhaheay t she disappeared? man: my electric bill was breaking the bank.
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we had a homicide, we had no suspects. we're dealing basically with zero balance here. >> nancy cooper had been strangled. her barely clothed body found in a storm drain several miles from home. but why? there were no signs of rape or robbery or that any struggle had occurred. >> we start going back to where we started at saying, okay, let's look at everything again. >> there were reports from people who said they saw a woman who look like nancy running that saturday morning. one man said he watched her for a good 30 seconds, then saw a
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van make a u-turn to follow her. and there were other report of mysterious vans. friday night, one sped away from a cul-de-sac with no lights on. could any of this be tied to her killer? >> we're not away from anything at this point. everything becomes important. >> like the conversations with nancy's husband brad that weekend of the search. he said they were up until 4:00 a.m. to calm their crying 2-year-old, katie. then he made two trips to the grocery store after which nancy announced she was off to run. >> of course we went to find the video records of him going in and out of the store which we did in fact find. >> but one of those talks struck detective daniels as odd. when he asked him, did you contact nancy's family? >> he told us no. but it could be because he's frantic about the situation and didn't have time to call them. >> then a little more talking and the detective learned there may have been another reason altogether. nancy and brad were having
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marital problems. >> he told me the last few months it sealed like they were getting better. when i asked him why, he told me that he had had an affair. >> so daniel tucked that i had the bit away and went on with the search for nancy. but after her body was found, things were different. the cooper house became a crime scene. police in and out, turning the place upside down and daniels kept his ears open. because among nancy's friends and family, people were certainly talking. >> we're getting all this information and we're having to separate what is important versus what's just part of a marriage. >> brad, remember, told detective daniels that they were getting past the tension his affair had caused but that wasn't quite the story he was hearing from nancy's family and friends. >> she felt very trapped and she did not know what she was going to do. >> the marriage, it turned out had been rocky from the start. brad seemed more married to his job than to nancy. then in the spring of 2007,
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nancy's close friend heather told her she had slept with brad. so nancy confronted her husband. >> she just wanted the truth so they could fix it and go on. >> and he said that didn't happen. >> for a very long time. >> me and her feel bad about thinking that it happened. >> until months later, it was new years eve day when brad finally came clean. yes, he told nancy, it happened. but he said only once and really it meant nothing. so they went to counseling and that's when nancy heard what she said was the real story. >> brad said to the counsellor, it has been going on for a long time. changes again from this one night stand to i love the woman. so nancy came away from that and said i'm finished. >> they agreed to split. sell the house. nancy would move back to canada with the girls. then suddenly brad canceled nancy's credit cards, blocked her access to the bank accounts. put her on a cash allowance. >> i recall a time she was in the car with me and she called
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him and said, you know, i've got $2 and we don't have any diapers. >> nancy couldn't get a job. she had no green card. she began painting a friend's house to earn some extra money. and when she did, brad reduced her allowance. >> she must have been just furious at him. >> furious would be an understatement. >> we tried to help her and she was very proud. she felt guilty. i'm not going to take your money. no, this isn't your job to support me and my kids. >> nancy began locking important papers including the girls' passports in her car. >> i went down in february in 2008 and it was awful. i had never seen nancy stressed out before. i had never seen her raise her voice in the house. she was just miserable. >> miserable, stressed, each day uncertain. a painful struggle, an angry contest. >> she said this is just, i think, a game to show me how difficult it will be. his attempt to force me back
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into this relationship. >> then as nancy was preparing to move back to canada and with brad's blessing take the girls, one of those moments on which lives can turn. the arrival from nancy's lawyer of a proposed separation agreement. alimony, child support, private schools for the girls. brad would have to travel to canada for his twice monthly visits. he made no downer offer. just told nancy the move was off. >> he saw what he was going to have to pay and all bets are off. >> and then brad got a hold of the girls' passports. found them in nancy's car. now they couldn't leave and nancy was trap, too. >> but as the father, it is his perfect right to prevent those kids from leaving. >> yes. it is also a way to say if i'm doing half the childcare, then i'm not going to have an alimony issue. >> to get her away from her troubles, nancy's family took her and the girls on vacation. >> how was it at the end when you had to say goodbye? >> heart breaking.
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i had nancy in my arms in the airport in charlotte. she was sobbing. and she said, mom, i just want to come home. and i'll never forget that day. >> it was the last time they saw her alive. now that she was dead, nancy's family was sured brad had to be involved somehow. but detective daniels knew that the demise of a marriage, bitter though it may have been, did not prove murder. there was a lot more work to do. >> we should go back and key on the husband. things like that. and we won't walk away from that. at the same time, we're letting the investigation lead us wherever it goes. >> coming up, brad cooper comes clean about his affair with nancy's best friend. >> it took place
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in the days after nancy cooper's murder, the police chief in north carolina tried to calm her jittery town. but her message was, well, curious. it seemed to imply the officers knew something more than they were revealing. >> we still believe this is an isolated case. cary continues to be one of the safest places to live in the nation. >> isolated? how could she know? >> we still have not named a suspect or a person of interest. >> oh, but nancy's family had. the very day krista learned her twin sister was missing, she called brad. >> i asked him point blank at that point, what have you done? where is she? >> she didn't wait for an answer. she hung up the phone. then the day after nancy's body
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was identified, her family went to court to try to get those two little girls away from brad. >> 1:00 in the afternoon, we had papers in the judge's hand for temporary custody of nancy's children. >> the family acted so fast because according to their complaint, brad's behavior was so disturbing. before she disappeared, they had seen emotional abuse. and they were sure she never went jogging on july 12th. and then after she went missing -- >> he was very stand off-ish and aloof with the family and he didn't contact anybody. he didn't want anybody around, didn't want any help. it was strange enough to be larling. >> so they feared for bella and katie's safety. >> did you think they were in danger, too? >> if he's in a place that he could do this, that he would bring harm to the kids, the answer to that was absolutely. >> awe million conversations. are we sure that this happened? that at the end of the day you have to live with the fact that
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if we're wrong, this is way over the line, we did it for the right reasons. as a family, we decided we're going to take that step over the line. >> there was an emergency hearing and the judge determined that the intense scrutiny brad was likely to face during a murder investigation put the children at risk. in late july, the girls went back to canada to live with krista know their slain mother's twin, and heavy husband. >> we are kind of in a hurry. >> but brad, remember, had not been charged with a crime and was not a declared suspect and he fought hard to get his daughters back. which men three months after nancy's murder, sitting for a videotaped deposition in which brad answered questions under oath about his marriage, his affair and what happened the morning nancy disappeared. were police investigators listening? oh, yes, they were. >> was nancy a good wife? >> i would say so, yes. she was supportive of myself and
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of the children. very loving and generous. >> but there were two issues. the trouble the cooper's marriage. one was money. the couple had serious debts. >> this last week i looked at the american express card from january 2007 to december 2007. and of that, $27,000 was accredited to nancy's credit card. and mine was $17,000. of that, i think $3,000 or $4,000 was part of our monthly bills. >> it was to rein in nancy's spending that he put her on a cash allowance. >> how much cash? >> at least $300. >> but nancy said brad was angry that they didn't have more money to spend. >> she referred to me as the budget nazi. i'm sure she's probably said that once or twice in heated conversations. >> the other issue? brad's sexual relationship with
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nancy's best friend heather. the issue which finally brought the marriage to an end. he called it his indiscretion. >> i had sexual intercourse with heather once. >> it happened sometime in the end of 2004, early 2005, he said. >> where did this sexual intercourse take place? >> it took place in our home, in the closet of the master bedroom. >> did you initially deny the relationship? >> yes, i initially denied it for approximately one year. >> why? >> i thought that if by denying it, it would go away and we could remain as a whole family. >> but when it became time for the family to split, brad said he found the monthly terms of the proposed separation agreement unreasonable. >> child support, medical, private school, extra activities, kind of added it up. and i ball parked it at over $5,000 tompb 6,000. >> he also explained why he called off nancy's move back to
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canada. >> i realized that seeing the girls every other weekend would not be sufficient. >> and brad gave his account of the hours before nancy went missing. they were at a party across the street friday night. he left about 8:00 p.m. got the girls ready for bed. >> my girls fell asleep at 9:00 p.m. i probably fell asleep soon after. >> he was awakened at 12:30 when nancy came home. >> when she opened the front door and i heard her come upstairs. >> he was awakened by katie's crying. he took her downstairs, followed by nancy 20 minutes later. ? we tag teamed off and on, trying to keep her calmed down. >> brad said he made two trips to the store that morning. on the second trip, nancy called hill, he said. he remembers being at an intersection when the call came in. >> do you know what time that would have been? >> i think looking at the cell phone records, i think it said 6:40 a.m. >> when he came back from the store the second time, katie had calmed down, he said, and nancy told brad she was going for a
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run. >> i took katie upstairs. went in front of my computer. read some e-mails with katie in my lap. >> then around 7:00, he said, nancy left. >> how do you know that she left the home? >> i'm not sure if she said goodbye. either way, somehow i knew she left. the door closed or she said later or something. >> that, he said, was the last time he saw her. three weeks after this deposition, three months after nancy's body was found, in late october, brad cooper was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife. so was it something he said? we know a place where tossing and turning have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake.
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he was just the right sort of guy when she found him. bright, quiet, stable. this computer genius so skilled, a multinational powerhouse had sought him out. and now brad cooper was on trial for murder. >> at this time we are ready to have the opening statements. >> it began this past march, two and a half years after nancy's etss dd. >> nancy cooper never went for a run from her house on july 12th of 2008. >> the prosecutors had their own idea of what happened to nancy, beginning the night before she disappeared. >> we think that she came home
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from this party and she had said some things in front of him that might have upset him a little bit. and that he choke her, killed her then. >> the theory goes, put her body in the trunk of the car, drove her to that drainage ditch, returned home to manufacture an alibi. why? they started with that shredded marriage, brad's affair. cutting her off financially, stop her move back to canada. she was, nancy friends, said increasingly desperate. >> she said he's breaking me. i don't know how much i have left to fight. >> she told me when she leapt at night, she slept with her jeans on and the keys in her pocket with the children and the door locked. >> he never beat her. it wasn't physical, said the prosecutors. but he used financial power to exert absolute control. this, they said, was a form of domestic violence. >> she is in this abrasive, rough relationship at that point.
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he trapped her. he controlled everything about her life. >> wait a minute. nancy's allowance was $300 a week. would a jury think that was evidence of abuse? how do you tell a jury that he's depriving her? >> it is difficult. the facts still remain that there are these signs of control emanating from that cooper household. >> it doesn't matter whether it is a thousand dollars a week or $10 a week. the fact of the matter is that it caused friction between the two of them. >> so the jury heard about that last week of nancy's life. the week of war with brad. but nancy's father on the stand, prosecutors played the phone message nancy left her parents after she returned home from that vacation with her family. >> on the table, i'm so furious. >> as that last week went on, the fighting escalated. on the friday, the friend testified, nancy was shaking
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with ang where she revealed brad withheld her allowance that day because she earned her own money painting a friend's house. >> did she tell what you kind of day this was? >> this was an i hate brad day. she said that at least three times that day. she said i hate you, brad cooper, i hate you, i hate you, i hate you. >> describe her demeanor for us, if you would. >> she clenched her fists and spat the words out. >> diana lived across the street. it was her party that friday at which she and brad fought openly. >> her tone at that point was angry but there was a tone of, you're an idiot. >> brad went home with the girls around 8:00. nancy stayed. on bitterly complaining about brad, even to strangers, like donna lopez. and once in a while said donna, nancy nervously looked across the street to her own house. >> how did you feel when you left that night? >> i was very worried for
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someone who i didn't know well. i thought i had met someone really, really nice and i told my husband, something bad is going to happen over there. it's really sad. >> so when nancy disappeared, her friend's eyes all turned to brad. after all, they knew about the conflict and jessica adam knew nancy was supposed to be at her house that saturday that 8:00 a.m. to pain. when nancy didn't show up, she called the police. >> i was very concerned. i had seen brad in my house and he was agitated that week. related to the painting. >> a marriage gone bad is hardly proof of murder. nor was brad's conspicuous absence from her memorial service, nor his apparent lack of interest or cooperation as the police continued in the murder investigation. these were suspicions but there was no physical evidence linking
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brad to the crime. the prosecutor would say it was because he cleaned the house. he covered his tracks well. but there it was. so what was the best evidence against brad? ironic, perhaps, given the defendant's particular expertise. ? we knew we had this fabricated alibi we needed to address. >> the issue was that phone call the morning nancy disappeared. brad's cell phone registered a call from home at 6:40 a.m. when he went back to the store. proof, surely, that nancy was alive at 6:40. unless, that is, unless brad placed the call himself. brad is a world class expert in international phone technology. >> if anyone could do that, it was the defendant. ultimately, he had the potential to make that phone call. >> in testimony that was frankly mindnumbing -- >> that leverages something called tapping or j-tapping. >> an expert from cisco, brad's
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former company, explains ten different ways someone as expert as brad could make that call. the main ways are using a computer where you can program something into your computer and delay it so that a phone call can be made from your computer, from the computer's modem. >> to do that, brad needed a certain router. when prosecutors said conveniently disappeared from the cooper home. >> we know he had this router. >> in fact, said the prosecution, this cisco chat log proves brad borrowed that router, that 3825, it is called of took it home months before the murder. >> the defendant had one ofs those routers? >> that's correct. i only had two. >> you never got that 3825 router back? >> no, sir. >> cisco doesn't have it back. where did it go? we know it was never returned. >> but it was brad's own computer examined by the fbi which coughed up the most accusing evidence of all. evidence he had already lied under oath. >> the kids fell asleep about
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9:00 p.m. i probably fell asleep soon after. >> in his deposition, brad said he was asleep with his daughters when nancy came home from that party friday night. but brad's computer said otherwise. he was online until about midnight when nancy came home. >> he's been awake on his computer. when she comes home shortly after midnight, we think they argued and that a fight ensued. that's when he strangled her. >> and then? the closest thing the prosecution had to a smoking gun. a google map search. brad typed in the numbers, 27518. the zip code for cary. then zoomed into the exact location where nancy's body was found. when did he do this? 1:15 in the afternoon on friday, july 11th. the day before nancy went missing. >> it is the most pointed piece of premeditation, if you will.
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>> proof of intent? maybe. maybe not. it wasn't much of a search. it lasted just 41 seconds. >> he didn't look anywhere else. generally you search a whole bunch of different places. this is one place and it is only 41 seconds long. >> i don't think it would take very long. if you look at the map, you immediately recognize this desolate area. this beige area in a sea of green. and then zoom in to it. zoom into it. zoom into it and see where it is. >> of course, every prosecution has its flaws. and this one? maybe, said, the defense, they didn't have the right man at all. and maybe they didn't know nancy so well either. she, too, the defense suggested, had been unfaithful and they found a witness to prove it. >> she began taking her clothes off. i took my clothes off. >> did that have anything to do with the day she disappeared? ♪
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have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache,
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>> you need actual evidence to convict. and actual evidence is something that they did not have. >> no physical evidence, said the defense attorneys, to tie brad to nancy's murder and the awful seens scenes from the cooper marriage the jury heard, no witness for either side had ever seen brad physically violent toward nanny. as for the $300 a week allowance, there was a reason the defense argued. remember, the couple had serious debt. and the defense offered contrasting scenes of the cooper marriage from another set of friends. ? people who knew the couple for years did not jump on this bandwagon to paint this as an abusive relationship. >> remember the i hate brad day? the day the prosecution said the marriage hit its boiling point? on that very day nancy was making plans for saturday night. the day she disappeared. >> she wanted my husband and i to come over and play sequence with her and brad.
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>> was that a game you had played with the that cooers before. >> oh, yeah. she introduced us to that game. and when they it was testified they had plans to paint her house saturday morning, she had to have been mistaken, said the defense. because nancy knew brad had a tennis game at 9:00 a.m. with mike hiller. >> i specifically sought out nancy to make sure it was okay with her. >> did it d she indicate she had any other plans? >> there was talk that she was going to jog. and she would be back by then. >> and there were people who claimed they saw a woman who was nancy running. and it was proof that she was alive that morning. >> she was about 5'9", good shape. >> this woman said she reported her citing to the police after she saw the missing poster. >> how is it the next day when you saw the flier, you believed it was her? >> because she was so close to me. and she had an elongated face. that's what drew my attention.
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>> she wasn't the only one. this man said he got a 30-second look at her as he was driving to work. >> i saw a lady jogging on the right-hand side of the road. jogging toward the bridge. >> but did the police follow up? not for a long time, said these witnesses. >> they ignored everybody that believed they saw nancy for three months. >> same with those suspicion vans, said the defense. >> it was clear that the police had focused on brad to the exclusion of other people. >> it wasn't just brad who had been unfaithful, implied the defense. could someone else have wanted to silence nancy permanently? someone, suggested the defense, like john, who at first didn't tell the police about an indiscretion with nancy. pearson said he held back to protect his family. it hampden after a very tipsy halloween party back in 2005. >> she began taking her clothes off. i took my clothes off.
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and we started to have sex. i believe we stopped and got dressed and decided to never speak about it again. >> it seemed to observers as if you two are somehow blaming the victim. you were looking for other people she may have had relationships with. why was that important? >> the reason that people look to the spouse first is because affairs of the heart frequently lead to crimes of passion. so anyone with whom she had a relationship should be the subject of a police investigation. >> and there may have been other secrets, the defense charged. clues to nancy's life that they'll never know because, and this was big, a cary detective erased the contents of her blackberry. accident, said the prosecutor? nonsense, said the defense.
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>> it is not something that happens accidentally. a prime example of the allegations that the police investigation was dishonest. why would the police have any motivation whatsoever sow get rid of evidence in this case? >> not only did they start with an eye toward building a case against brad. they also started with an eye toward attempting to preserve nancy's reputation. and that phone would carry e-mails, text messages, pictures, videos. >> you think it would have been exculpatory evidence for your client? >> i don't know what it was. because we never did get to that phone. >> that call saturday morning from brad's house to his cell phone? the one the prosecution alleges brad made himself with that now
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missing router? they claim that he checked out a router and never returned it. >> the question is, did he generate a phone call, not did he have the technological skill. they also took photographs of the house. they searched the house. and they have not once introduced any evidence that the router was in the house. >> but hard drives don't lie. or do they? that was the question the defense raised when it came to those apparently damning results of brad's computer. >> you're talking about a computer that we know was tampered with. ? you're alleging what? >> i'm stating as fact, the computer was tampered with. there were significant anomalies that we found in the computer lfse. >> he said that brad's computer was hacked.
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the 41-second google map search was planted. the prosecution had no smoking gun. so you're saying he didn't even search for that map. >> that's right. >> somebody else put it on his computer. >> yes. >> an fbi agent had testified that he saw no evidence of tampering but the defense said it had experts who did. two of them. both of whom wrote reports. but trials have referees and in this case, the judge ruled that neither one of those defense experts could testify about tampering. one said the judge wasn't sufficiently qualified. the other was brought in too late in the trial. but even if they had testified, was one question they couldn't answer. if there was a hacker, who was it? >> i can tell that you police had access to it. i can tell you that anybody within wireless range had access to it. >> what possible reason would the police have to put that map on his computer?
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>> i can't say that the police put it on the computer. i don't know who manipulated the computer. what i can say is that a possible reason, if you believe somebody is guilty and that you don't have any evidence against them, well, it's perfect evidence, isn't it? >> could those 41 seconds put brad cooper in prison for the rest of his life?
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give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. go to st. or shop wherever you see our magnifying glass. for two long months, attorneys at both sides hammered at the question, what happened to nancy cooper? the defense charged the police more than dropped the ball. their investigation was dishonest. the erasing of nancy's blackberry, for one thing, had to be intentional, said the
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defense. nonsense, applied the prosecution. besides, they said they already found what they needed from that phone through other sources. >> we had the phone records so we knew everything she had done. we had the billing so we could tell how much texting she did or didn't do. >> the google search on brad's computer, well, they couldn't have, said detective daniels. >> none of the people that work for me or worked in the department would have had the knowledge to go do something like that. >> the defense charged police ignored the possible sightings of nancy and those mysteriousiamysterious vans for months. >> the police indicated that they followed up with everyone of those people. >> as for john pearson whose indiscretion with nancy should have made him a suspect, at least according to the defense, he had an alibi. on that friday night, pearson spent the night with heather. the very same woman behind brad
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and nancy's break-up. >> at the beginning of the case -- >> still, the long trial finally wound down. the defense hammered home its claim the police and prosecution bought into a whispering campaign by nancy's friends against brad. >> it made it easier for them to simply let the gossip about brad become their reality even when the facts and evidence the did not fit it. and now the police department and the prosecutors are willing to send an innocent man to rot in a dungeon, in essence, for the rest of his life. >> but there were facts, said the prosecution, to send brad cooper away for life. >> fact. the defendant googleled where he would place his wife's body. fact, the rout per could place the automated phone call is also now missing. fact, nancy cooper never left that house the morning of july 12th. >> so the jurors adjourned to
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deliberate. guilty of first-degree murder? second-degree or not guilty? and nancy's family having listened to weeks of confusing and circumstantial evidence, worried. >> if i was hearing this for the first time, would i feel comfortable sending someone to prison for the rest of their life? >> the jury stayed out for two days. and then? >> has the jury reached a unanimous verdict? >> yes, sir. >> the verdict of the jury reads, we the jury by unanimous verdict find the defendant bradley graham cooper to be guilty of first-degree murder. >> i cried for hours. >> i cried for hours. >> relief, yes, it's over will there is a conclusion. now we can all go home. >> and brad? >> obviously, brad was upset. but he knows and feels that this is not over.
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>> brad will appeal based possibly on the judge's ruling excluding his expert computer witnesses. certainly these attorneys have strong views about the damage that ruling may have caused. >> it was enormous. it was crippling. and nancy? there is a black granite bench in the park, a place she once ran. her adopted's town's way of remembering. the cooper girls, bella and katie, are growing up in canada with nancy's twin sister krista and her husband jim. >> they're doing great. like every other normal little toddler and little kid. >> their cousins were with them the day we came to call. so seven little girls scampered happily about their pleasure infectious. and for the adults, bitter sweet. >> i'm sad nancy is not here seeing it. >> absolutely.
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>> what do they understand about mother and father? >> what we've told them is that mommy nancy was killed by a bad man. and that she is in heaven. and then went to prison. >> and brad? she knows this may sound a little weird but -- >> i've told them that he is traveling. because he worked so much. it is pretty easy and plausible and that he is in a tent and has no phone. >> you know they'll ask someday. >> they will ask when they're ready. and us as a family unit will sit down with them and tell them what happened one day. >> tell them the tragic story of a man and a woman who sank in the undertow of what was once love. >> we got an outcome that nancy deserves but it is also not a winning hand for anybody. and brad lost his life as well.
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there are many things that were lost, lives that have been forever changed. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for joining us. -- captions by vitac -- month before the first votes are castn 2012's race for the white house a maj a major shake shakeup in the gop field. >> i am suspending my presidential campaign. >> president obama makes the case for another four years. new jobless numbers give him a boost, falling to the lowest level since 2009. but slow growth, rising debt and a financial crisis in europe are still major concerns. >> now is not theime to slam the brakes on the recovery. right now it's time to step on the gas. >> this morning, a debate on the president's case for re-election. first, mr. obama's senior
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campaign adviser david axelrod and then the gop's top party official reince priebus, axelrod and priebus debate the obama presidency and the 2012 campaign. then our political round table breaking down the gop primary battle. herman cain is out. suspending his presidential campaign after a rough few weeks, including allegations monday of a long-time extramarital affair. >> false accusations about me continue. they have sidetracked and distracted my ability to present solutions to the american people. what does it mean for the rest of the field? so mitt romney pressed again about his changes positions and record as massachusetts governor. >> it is an unusual interview. all right. let's do it again. >> meantime newt gingrich


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